FIGHT back against soaring bills with our great guide to recession-proofing your home.
Last week the Bank of England hiked interest rates to 1.75 per cent – the biggest spike since 1995 – which means borrowers will be stung with higher rates to pay back loans, while energy bills are set to rocket.
But The Sun’s Squeeze Team experts are here to help – and their ideas could save you £1,500 a year, with other tips possibly earning you a cool £8,500.
Here, Lucy Alderson looks at simple steps to get the most from your home.
It’s a wrap: SAVE £40
BEFORE the colder weather hits, make sure your hot water tank is properly insulated.
You’ll then be using less energy to heat your water and it will stay hotter for longer. You can buy a special insulating “jacket” at sites such as Amazon.
Coupon queen Holly Smith said: “This can save you an additional £40 every year.”
Fitting good loft insulation will also pay off too.
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Dial it down: SAVE £100
TURN down the temperature dial on your boiler and you could save £100.
If you have a combi-boiler, check the temperature setting – it is usually at a default setting of 80C – but they function just as well on a lower setting.
Coupon queen Holly said: “If you turn down the temperature to 55C. you will save a lot on energy costs.
Off the rails: SAVE £149
AN electric heated towel rail can come in handy, especially in winter.
But it could add a whopping £149 to your energy bill, said Dr Steve Buckley, head of data science at energy specialist Loop.
Switch it off at the plug and avoid using it more than absolutely necessary, he suggested, adding: “You could even plug it into a timer to come on and warm your towels in the morning when you usually shower to save energy.”
Power shower: SAVE £75
INSTALL a new smart shower head – a nifty appliance that helps you control water pressure and temperature.
It means you’ll use water more efficiently and halve the amount going down the plughole unnecessarily – saving £75 a year, according to Which? estimates.
Ex-stream savings: SAVE £552
Netflix costs £10.99 a month, while Amazon Prime is £7.99.
Go through your bank statements to see what you are spending on these services per month – and decide which you could do without.
Households spend an average of £46 a month on TV subscriptions, according to Barclaycard Payments. That means you could save £552 over the year by ditching them all.
Game on: SAVE £33
GAMES consoles are big energy-guzzlers. Your Xbox, for example, can be surprisingly expensive to run.
Senior personal finance analyst Sarah Coles suggests switching it to energy-saving mode to dramatically cut costs.
It costs just 80p over the year to run your Xbox on this setting, whereas playing it normally would cost you £34.
Sarah says: “It will take about 20 seconds to start from this mode, but it uses 20 times less power than standby mode, so it’s worthwhile.”
Smart parker: MAKE UP TO £1,000
GOT spare space on your driveway?
You could consider renting it out to motorists looking for cheaper parking, and pocket some cash.
Using HMRC’s property allowance, you can make up to £1,000 a year tax-free from renting out space on your property, including your driveway or garage.
Fill up your fridge-freezer: SAVE £15
KEEPING your fridge-freezer plugged in costs almost £100 a year, according to Which? sustainability editor Emily Seymour.
You might not be able to turn off this appliance but there is a way to make sure you are saving money.
Emily said: “You can make your fridge-freezer more energy-efficient by making sure you don’t overfill your fridge, which stops air from circulating around the compartments, and by keeping your fridge-freezer at least three-quarters full.”
Doing so can cut running costs by 15 per cent, or £15 a year.
Ditch the oven: SAVE £48
FIND alternative ways to cook your grub to cut down on energy use.
The average built-in electric oven costs just over £64 a year to run but using microwaves or air fryers could help you save cash.
Emily said: “As they can cook or heat food more quickly, microwaves use up to 80 per cent less energy than conventional ovens.”
Air fryers cost about 6p to use per day, which would add up to nearly £16 a year if you used it five days a week. They cost around £30 on average to buy.
Be spin the money: SAVE £32
TURN your washing machine down to 30C from 60C the next time you do your laundry.
According to Which?, it could save a family of four £32 a year, as your machine needs less energy to heat the water. And don’t worry – your clothes will still be cleaned thoroughly.
Get smart: SAVE £250
WATCHING the cost tick up on your smart meter is a great incentive to change your habits and save cash.
It will also make you feel more in control of your bills if you can budget according to how much you use.
Smart meter savings vary, but adapting your usage can cut bills by £250 a year.
AROUND THE HOME
Hey roomie: MAKE UP TO £7,500
A SPARE bedroom can be a piggy bank in the making if you rent it out and cash in.
If you’re happy to share your home, you could offer it through a website such as Spare Room.
Under HMRC’s Rent A Room scheme, you can make £7,500 a year from a rental before you have to pay any tax on it. If you’re a renter, you must check with your landlord before going ahead.
If you just want to make a bit of cash here and there, you could make hundreds per year renting a room out to Airbnb visitors. Check the going rate in your local area.
Water big saving: SAVE £200
BIGGER households could save hundreds if they get a water meter installed.
This device measures how much water you use, and your supplier can use it to take more accurate bill readings.
The general rule of thumb is that you could save money if there are fewer people living in the house than there are bedrooms. The Consumer Council for Water says the average saving you can make getting a water meter fitted is £200 a year.
Consumer expert Martyn James said: “If you are single, live in a smaller property or don’t use much water, you might be able to make some savings by having a water meter.
“But watch out if you are a family of four or more and live in a larger property, as you might end up paying more.”
Penny for your thoughts: MAKE £668
IT can feel impossible to save any money while all your spare cash is going towards ever-rising bills.
But even stashing away your loose change here and there can help you tuck money away for a rainy day or in case of emergencies.
It’s important to have a pot of cash for when you most need it, such as if your car suddenly packs in and you need to fix it.
Try the penny savings challenge for a year, where you start by saving 1p and increase the amount by 1p every day until you stash away £3.65 on day 365.
By the end, you’ll have saved £667.95.